Ten Air Bed Buying Tips

With a wide array of air beds or air mattresses available in the market it is easy for the buyer to be overwhelmed.. The situation is complicated by all the bells and whistles that are being offered with the air beds. The range of air beds on offer ranges from the simple one chamber air mattress to those air beds that offer multiple chambers, multiple foam layers, pillow tops, sophisticated foundations and matching box springs and also a variety of digital wired and cordless remote controls. Below are air bed buying tips, describing the important features to look for when buying an air bed.

1. One must be careful when buying an air bed because it is easy to get carried away by the superficial features that are added to air beds to increase their perceived value and loose sight of the basic functional features. It is usual for customers to end up paying too much money for the ‘extra’ features that they are either not going to use or which do not add to the comfort. It is important to make sure that the quality of the pump and other functional components is not compromised unnecessarily.

2. One of the major dilemmas an air mattress buyer faces today is the choice of material for the air bed bladders. The air bed bladders come in a variety of materials like PVC, urethane, nylon and vulcanized natural rubber. Another thing that confuses the buyer is, how many chambers, baffles and zones are enough or is it the more the better? Of course PVC and urethane are considered more durable and when backed with special polymer fabrics they can be made tough like steel.

However in case of these synthetic material the tradeoff is comfort because, they don’t offer the flexibility and elasticity of natural rubber especially when they are inflated to higher pressures. Bladders made of synthetic materials are not as yielding and responsive as natural rubber at high pressures. To many interior walls and baffles are unnecessary except those deeded to maintain the shape of the air bladder. The ideal thickness of the air bet is 5-7 inches so that it does not bottom out under the load of two adults and does not look very thick. Air beds or air mattresses with fabric backed natural rubber bladders have been found to be most durable and comfortable.

3. One is also faced with the wide variety of layers on the top of the air beds. An air bed gets a comfortable and lush feel when covered with a layer of high density foam. Latex foams are also becoming popular for this purpose. Many cheaper air beds come with low density foam layers that deteriorate quickly and easily bottom out. They cannot give you the desired level of comfort and support for long. Air beds also come layered with visco-elastic ‘memory foams’ that are useful when the beds are inflated to higher pressures for better lumbar and back support. They keep the bed comfortable and reduce any pressure point that may develop.

4. Many air bed manufacturers while offering several ‘extra’ features compromise on pump quality. The pump is used to fill air and is a very important component of the air bed. Pumps should operate quietly and should be of high capacity so that the bed is inflated quickly. A pump having a simple construction is desirable, with fewer moving parts. It should be able to fill up the bed in 2 minutes. It should carry at least 3 year all inclusive warranty. The pumps should be easily removed for maintenance and repairs.

5. There is a lot of variation in the controllers or remotes for air beds. Keep to the basic s and buy one having simple features like fill and empty. A lot of the features like sleep number memory settings, etc. are not necessary because the comfort level differs with sleep position as well as the physical and mental state of the user that can vary day to day. It is better to go for the corded models as the cordless remotes get lost easily. Also you will never need to inflate the bed from a distance. So stick to ones with basic features.

6. The air bed you choose must have sturdy side rails so that you don’t slide off the bed when putting on shoes. It is advantageous to have a bed with sturdy foam side rails. Don’t buy an air bed in which the air chambers continue up to the edge or one with a thin foam rail at the edge. The edges should have thick and sturdy foam perimeters. The side rails should be firm yet soft enough not to dig into the back of your thighs when you are sitting at the edge of the bed.

7. Many air beds or air mattresses come with pillow tops. However the quality of materials used for pillow tops varies widely. Many of the pillow tops are made of low density materials that break down and get compacted over the period of a few months. Ideally the simple quilted pillow top designs with synthetic materials that breathe should be chosen. A 2 inch quilted top is adequate.

8. Most air beds come in two varieties – the ones that are delivered in pre-assembled state and those that have different parts to be assembled by you. The shipping cost of pre-assembled air beds are high and you will have to bear this. The higher shipping cost becomes important if you have to return the bed in case of any defect. Modular beds that have to be assembled entail lower shipping costs because you don’t need to ship the whole bed for replacement. As these usually have only 6-8 parts that are easy to assemble there is no inconvenience involved.

9. Before buying an air bed you must study the return policy of the manufacturer or dealer closely. As you won’t know how good the bed is, until you have spent a night on it at home, an unconditional return policy is preferable. Get everything in writing and make sure that the return policy is fair. You may however have to pay for the shipping costs. Also make sure that you will get a new air bed and not a refurbished one in return.

10. Even though you have made sure that the components are made from best quality material, the possibility of a breakdown or some other problem arising, cannot be ruled out. Therefore it is essential that your purchase is backed by a solid warranty. As air beds have become hot many manufacturers have jumped into the market. The warranties offered by them vary widely. While one manufacturer offers a pro-rated 20 year warranty with a 3 year full replacement for defective components and parts, there are some that offer less than one year warranty. Stick to the air bed manufacturers that have a long track record and offer a solid written warranty.

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